The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP -- the drug czar's office) used testimony submitted to Congress last week to misrepresent the position of Steve Kubby, a leading California medical marijuana advocate. Kubby acted this week to denounce the deception and clarify his continuing support for medical marijuana.
"Founding proponents of medical marijuana in the United States have reversed their key positions of support for medical marijuana. Rev. Scott Imler, Co-founder of Prop 215, has lamented the passage of California's medical marijuana law stating that, 'We created Prop. 215 so that patients would not have to deal with black market profiteers. But today it is all about the money. Most of the dispensaries operating in California are little more than dope dealers with store fronts.' Imler also said that medical marijuana has 'turned into a joke.' Steve Kubby, another Co-founder of medical marijuana in California stated in a letter to supporters on April 14th, 2006 that 'Marinol is an acceptable, if not ideal, substitute for whole cannabis in treating my otherwise fatal disease.' (Alternatives magazine, Fall, 2006 Issue 39, San Gabriel Valley Tribune 2/07, Message from Steve Kubby, Steve Kubby Released After Serving 62 Days in Jail, April 14th, 2006)"
Imler, a founder of the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center, which was raided and shut down by the DEA in 2001, has not taken exception to Murray's portrayal of his position -- after all, Murray accurately transcribed his words from the year-old magazine article. But Kubby, who was forced to resort to Marinol while jailed for two months in California, certainly took umbrage.
"My comments about Marinol were based upon my relief that I did not die in jail," he wrote in an email to supporters. "My comment was intended to acknowledge that I did get good blood pressure control with the Marinol and that finding certainly deserves further study. On the other hand, I lost 33 pounds in 62 days while on Marinol, so perhaps I should have used stronger language than 'less than ideal.'"
Kubby suffered from almost constant nausea while on Marinol, he wrote, adding that Murray took his sentence about Marinol out of context. The paragraph from which it was extracted reads as follows: "During that time I experienced excruciating pain, a vicious high blood-pressure crisis, passed blood in my urine and I lost 33 pounds. However, there was also good news. I learned that Marinol is an acceptable, if not ideal, substitute for whole cannabis in treating my otherwise fatal disease. Now I am a free man and I am profoundly grateful to be alive and to have friends and supporters such as you."
While conceding that Marinol can be effective for treatment of hypertension and would allow him to travel briefly without medical marijuana, it does not allow him to have an acceptable quality of life, Kubby said.
"Please help me squash this deceptive and dangerous misrepresentation of my true feeling on this matter by the ONDCP," Kubby wrote. "It just shows how desperate they are that they must mislead people in this way. And just so there is no question about this, let me be clear: Whole cannabis is not only the best medicine for me, it is the only medicine that has kept me alive during the 32 years that I have continued to live, in relatively good heath, despite a terminal diagnosis of malignant pheochromocytoma."
With Murray and ONDCP, it's sort of like that old country song title: "Who Are You Going to Believe -- Me or Your Lying Eyes?"